Welcome to All Saints Church, Witley

All Saints Church, Witley, Surrey

March: Mad as a March hare

It looks like Spring. It feels like Spring. Maybe it is Spring! Whilst the calendar says it's only the last week in February, it feels like April already. I have plants in the garden that don't usually flower until the end of March or even April now in bloom. Amazing but also mad: though sadly I haven't yet seen any breeding hares fighting vigorously on the common as yet.

This expectant time of year - with the bleak landscape of Winter giving way to a riot of colour from an array of snowdrops, daffodils and crocuses in our gardens and on our road verges as we gently nudge into Spring - brings to my mind the beautiful words of Gerard Manley Hopkins in his poem 'God's Grandeur':

"And for all this, nature is never spent;
There lives the dearest freshness deep down things;
And though the last lights off the black West went
Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs -
Because the Holy Ghost over the bent
World broods with warm breast and with ah! Bright wings."

Which brings me neatly on to the equally movable spiritual season of Lent, dependent on the variable date of Easter as it is. In somewhat stark contrast to the physical and natural world, it will be a little later than usual this year beginning with Ash Wednesday on the 6th March. Upon this special day the church family sets out on its Lenten journey to the Easter Vigil with the constant and changeless theme of penitence and reflection. Ashes (made from the palms of the previous year's joyful Palm Sunday procession) are blessed and used as a symbol of repentance. Those who wish come to the altar rail to be marked with a cross of ashes on their forehead. Being aware of people's busy and differing schedules, we shall have two communion services at All Saints on the day - both with the option of the imposition of ashes; the first at 9.30am and the second a joint one with St John's Milford at 8.00pm.

Moving into the season of Lent proper, many folks take this 40-day period as an annual challenge to reflect on their journey through life. We often run courses or read books together in the parish. This year our joint Lent group with St John's Milford will be listening to members of our two congregations talking about how they live out their faith in their daily lives and especially at work. So do come and join in on any of the four Tuesday evenings after Ash Wednesday - 12th March, 19th March, 26th March and 2nd April - at 7.45pm and be part of the conversation. All welcome!

However you choose to mark the arrival of Spring and the opportunity presented by Lent, I pray you will be refreshed and enlivened at this exciting time as the world around us comes to life again.

James McKeran

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All Saints Church has a huge wooden door, which, while being very old and attractive in its own way can be a physical barrier to those who have never entered All Saints before - don't let it be like that. Turn the handle, push the door and come in, all are welcome. Inside you will find a building that is filled with the prayers of 1000 years, a wall painting that is 900 years old, a 700-year-old Lady Chapel with medieval stained glass, signs of the conflict in the 16th and 17th century with an unfinished memorial tablet in the sanctuary and several other family memorials. The 18th century put in a gallery which was removed by the Victorians who added so much more, including a whole aisle on the North Side. The Victorians with three generations of Chandler Vicars built the organ, the bell tower and the vestry. They refurbished the chancel ceiling, floor and altar and put up memorials to the eminent people of the day as they passed on. The beginning of the 20th century completed the collection of stained glass windows and introduced the pews we have now, instead of the previous box pews. All Saints is full of history reflecting the needs of the generations who have worshipped here before us. There have been many changes in the past few years which help us now to use the church on a daily basis for many different groups. There is a children's trail available with many interesting things to find out and see.

Please do come inside and explore and have time for yourself, the church is open in daylight hours. Or come and meet with others to worship or chat everyone is welcome.

If anyone would like to speak to Ann, please ring or email and we will endeavour to meet you as soon as we can.

The All Saints Parish Office, is in the grounds of Witley Infant School, opposite the Church.

Wishing you every blessing

James McKeran         Ann Fraser
                       James McKeran                                     Ann Fraser

The parish of Witley is made up of the villages of Witley, Brook, Wormley and Sandhills. The Parish Church of All Saints dates from about 1040 and is situated just off the main Petworth Road (A283) in Church Lane, opposite the White Hart public house. Witley CofE Infant School is opposite the church and has close links with it.

Apart from a regular pattern of worship on Sundays and Holy Days, the church serves the whole parish and after recent refurbishment is available every day for a variety of uses. The door is open in daylight hours for anyone who may wish to spend a quiet few moments or longer in the peace and quiet of this ancient building.

The mission of the church in Witley is to bring the love of God to all who live and work there. The church is open to all people, and here to serve the entire parish. Everyone is welcome at all services and other events and anyone is welcome to use the space in church for their own charitable or social events where appropriate. Click here for more information on using the church for your event.

If you are new to the area you are very welcome! There are a wide range of activities going on around the church that may interest you.

A team of Pastoral Assistants visit the housebound, take Communion to those who can't get to church for whatever reason, and generally help the clergy keep an eye on pastoral needs.

Ann would be pleased to talk with and welcome you. Enjoy the web-site!

Please feel free to click on the links above or on the right to find out more about us.

Be sure to visit our Parish News section which is updated weekly.

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